Instead of choosing sides, choose a new perspective
Our Beloved Family:
One day as I was searching in a drawer for another item, I came across a beautiful pocket watch I hadn’t seen in years. It had been given to me as a gift by my clinical psychology and hypnotherapy instructor, Donald Stoller, at the Institute of Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA. Every Monday for a year, I would see cases with Dr. Stoller, and at the completion of my work with him he gave me the pocket watch. This seemed the perfect gift because a pocket watch was the classic symbol of the hypnotherapist from long ago when practitioners used their own pocket watches as pendulums to guide patients into trance.
As I held the pocket watch by its long chain remembering my time with Dr. Stoller, it slowly started swinging back and forth, gradually making a wider arch with each pass. Perhaps I lulled myself into a bit of a trance because a famous quote from A Course in Miracles popped into my head: Nothing real can be threatened; nothing unreal exists. Herein lies the peace of God. I thought of the words of Rumi: Out beyond ideas of rightdoing and wrongdoing there is a field. We will meet you there. Interestingly, that translation by renowned Rumi scholar, Coleman Barks, uses “we” in this passage instead of “I”, which is more commonly seen. To me, using the first person plural pronoun added particular significance to this phrase considering the social unrest the U.S. has been experiencing lately.
That’s when I realized that while at one end of the chain the pocket watch was making wide swings to the right and left, at the other end where my hand was holding the ring it was perfectly stable. Nothing was moving at all.
As the pocket watch seemed to move by magic, I couldn’t help but think of the times in my life when I oscillated between absolutes—I like this; I don’t like that, This is good; That is bad, This is light; That is darkness, This is allowed; That is not allowed. I suddenly saw several missed opportunities in my life because I kept projecting my misperceptions onto certain situations and getting caught up in the illusion of duality that life presents. Living in the illusion of life, in an either/or existence there is no solution, no stability, only volatility—one side or the other. Someone has to lose so someone else can win.
Real solutions are found by rising above the duality of a situation and choosing to remain on the other end of the chain. That’s where “being in the loving is” as I tell all my patients. It means holding consciousness in that neutral, stable space away from intractable opposites, the third position. It’s the space where Rumi’s field exists, above and beyond the limited choices of extremes. That’s the consciousness of unity, loving, and connection.
Just as A Course in Miracles tells us that nothing real can be threatened, maintaining the third position allows us to relax with the assurance of knowing that if whatever it is we desire is meant to be it will be, and nothing can prevent it from coming to us. There are no accidents. Everything has a purpose, even not getting what we want or having our way.
Accepting this simple reality in uncertain times creates a spaciousness inside or quiet comfort we call peace or God. Every mystic book and spiritual philosophy guides us to this same principle, while also warning us about the dangers of living in the illusion of duality.
The energetic force that runs through our lives is much like the invisible phenomenon that sets the hypnotist’s pocket watch in motion. The amount of volatility we experience or the severity of how far our lives swing from one extreme to the next depends on the severity of our judgments. The further we allow ourselves to be pulled from the center position because of an obsession to be “right” or “win” the more upheaval we experience, and the more unstable our lives become.
By holding the center position and knowing that before doing anything about a situation we must learn how to be with the situation first, we create the stillness in which the answer is always found. We get to hold the good right up against the bad and the light next to the dark and see that both play essential roles in the harmonizing process. They are both a part of the solution, but to allow ourselves to regress back down the chain by the temptation of our judgments we only increase the volatility of the situation—the more we attach to one view and attack the other.
When we offer our love to others in ways big and small it lets them know their needs and by extension they matter to us.
As words, both attach and attack have the same etymological origin. Therefore, it makes sense that by attaching so firmly to one idea we never really escape its opposite. In fact, we also attach the opposite to ourselves at the same time because we end up always thinking about it, always fighting it. In this way, that which we attack and despise is ever-present in our minds, and we become its prisoner. By choosing not to attach or attack we leave ourselves open and free to find a real solution. No matter what challenge we face, whether it’s a serious illness or the social unrest we’ve seen throughout the country, it’s our mindset within the situation that will determine whether we move toward success or more instability.
This is precisely why Sherry and I created the Love Button Global Movement to help people remain in the third position, their loving consciousness that can act as an anchor to foster social cohesion, especially in difficult times. If you’ve been concerned about the recent national events and feel unsure as to what you might be able to do to make things better, then I urge you to start reaching out to others with your loving kindness. Hold the door open at the post office for the person entering behind you. Offer your seat on the subway to someone who looks like they need it. Allow someone with fewer items to go ahead of you in the checkout line. When we offer our love to others in ways big and small it lets them know their needs and by extension they matter to us. It’s only through this kind of mutual support that we’re reminded we all have the same basic needs because we’re in this life together, and when we focus on those things we begin to see there is far more that unites us than divides us.
Love, Light, and Clarity in the Month Ahead,
Dr. Habib Sadeghi